Title: God’s Love Spiritual Liberation through the Emancipation of Virtue
Author: Calvert Tynes
Genre: Poetry/ Religion
Let me premise by saying I don’t review a lot of poetry. I actually didn’t read a lot of poetry outside of what was required of me for school and pieces my friends wrote until my daughter was born. It was then, rocking a sleepy baby back and forth in a glider, that I really started to enjoy the genre in its full capacity. Kiddo and I spent a whole year reading Edna St. Vincent Millay and it was very comforting.
Calvert Tynes is not comforting. He’s raw, but not in a crass way or anything. Tynes’ poetry has very few soft rhythms, instead I imagine his work being best presented in person in a performance setting. There are a few kids at the Poetry Nights in Humble that could read some of these pieces and rock an audience’s socks off with them… I’m not so talented and my kid asked me to hush when I tried to read this to her. So though my kiddo didn’t much care for the book, she’s two and there are some things she just doesn’t have a say in right now, whether or not Calvert Tynes is a good poet is one of them.
God’s Love is indeed a testament to the love Tynes has found in Christ, but from where I’m sitting it reads more like a memoir than a spiritual guide. I’m probably biased in saying this, as I’ve never been a fan of things with pictures of Jesus on them… probably a narcissistic issue after the emotional damage of drawing the worst stick figure of Jesus ever on my leather bible when I was seven and getting in a lot of trouble over it; I wasn’t upset I was in trouble so much as I was upset that my mother couldn’t tell that my stick figure was my portrayal of Christ. But still, knowing what I know about the crucifixion it seems a little grotesque to immortalize the moment in graven images. For that reason, I was a little turned off by the front cover, although a lot of people I know would find it beautiful – it’s just me and I get that. Tynes may have turned me off with the cover, but he won me over with his poems.
I particularly liked I See You, Love and Theodora. Nope, I’m not going to print them here, you have to buy the book for that! But I will share my favorite quote from I See You, Love:
“If your love was land, then I am its sea,/because your love exemplifies/ the completion of me.”
Of course I adore the sappiest line in the whole book… of course.
I also adore how God is clearly a part of every aspect of Tynes life, but I think this book of poetry (if true) is as much about Tynes as it is about God. In my perfect book world, the front cover should reflect that in some way. The thing I’m finding I love about poetry, that you don’t always get with fiction, is how autobiographical a writer’s book of poems can be. Poetry is so personal. Especially touching are Tynes pieces on fatherhood and the stories he shares about his children, something I’m not sure I could have appreciated as much three years ago.
In God’s Love Tynes shares a full life with God, a full life with poetry, and well, a really full life. He has a lot to offer the world and I’m glad I have a little piece of that offering in my library.